NHRA MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
MONDAY - PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
Gimmies and Do Overs – Greg Anderson admitted if Dave Connolly wanted a do-over, he’d take one as well. Connolly was too quick on the tree and Anderson could’ve been a bit quicker. Anderson will admit that a .03 or quicker, and he’d have been an Indy runner-up.
“I got a break in the final,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t paying attention to my left leg when I threw the throttle down and it up off of the clutch and caused the car to creep forward. My mind began racing. I can’t take my foot off the clutch or I’m going to red-light.”
Anderson admitted he grabbed a lucky break when he managed to stop the car before he rolled the beam.
“If he wants a redo because he fouled, I want one too because I screwed up on the starting line,” Anderson said. “It might not even make a difference. No one remembers. All they remember is that you won Indy.”
Anderson pointed out this season could go down as one of the greatest championship battles ever. He’s not a fan of the multi-tiered championship battle for 2007.
“I’m not a proponent of it,” Anderson said. “You can lose the deal whether
you have the best car or not. You want the best team to win the championship and
that’s going to happen next year.”
He’s Not Done Yet – Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com interviewed Team Mopar Pro Stock owner Don Schumacher and he admitted that he’s not out of the Pro Stock game yet.
Schumacher confirmed that he sold the assets of the red team this weekend to Enders Racing. In an unsubstantiated rumor, seasoned Comp racer Rodger Brogdon is expected to fit into the mix.
Richie Stevens will join fellow Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson in Reading and together with Schumacher they will partner in the program with Mopar backing.
Schumacher also added that crew chief David Nickens’ involvement will be contingent on a few factors he’s not willing to discuss at this time.
Birthday Gift – Butch Leal wasn’t at home when his daughter Lori was born. Instead, he was winning the 1964 U.S. Nationals crown. Leal hadn’t attended Indy in 15 years and it was the plea of his daughter that lured him back.
“She was born on the Saturday that I was here and I had to stay until Monday to race,” Leal said. “She called me about three weeks ago and asked if I could take her to Indy. I just said, ‘Let’s do it.”
Leal had already made his decision to attend Indy when Gil Kirk called and asked his opinion of a Rod Shop tribute car. Seeing the 35th year tribute to his former sponsor by Larry Morgan was something that brightened his weekend even more.
“Someone walked over to Larry’s car and said, ‘Welcome back, Butch,” Leal said. “That was pretty funny. The car looks beautiful and it takes me right back to the 1980s,” Leal said. “I haven’t been to a race in 15 years and I’d really love to jump behind the wheel of one again, but I am just too old.”
The flesh may be weak but the spirit is willing to compete. Leal has undergone several surgeries over the years and by his assessment, appears to be getting his better health back.
“I played on the senior golf tour,” Leal said. “I spent four decades racing and felt I could compete with the seniors. They are really good. I managed to qualify for the senior U.S. Open. I’m 62, and I still play a few times a week and I do some fishing too.”
Leal’s favorite pasttime is his grandchildren.
“When you race, you have very little time to raise your children,” Leal said. “You have to rely on your wife to do that. I usually have my grandchildren on the weekend. This weekend I can’t tell you how much I miss them. I am with them every weekend and they want me to come home. That is really nice.”
SCARY MOMENTS IN PRO STOCK
(9-5-2006) - Ron Krisher suffered his second fiery crash in as many seasons during the second round of eliminations. He was reported to be alert, conscious, mobile and responding to commands after his Cobalt went out of control, veered away from the right lane and impacted the left guardwall.
Krisher was extracted by NHRA Safety Safari members and was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for evaluation as a precaution. NHRA emergency services officials reported that Krisher had only a minor burn to his left elbow and there were no other visible injuries.
It was later reported that Krisher suffered a fractured rib and officials later reported his Hans device was instrumental in preventing further injury. (Roger Richards)
SUNDAY - PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
My Place – Greg Anderson has a long way to go if aspires to surpass Bob Glidden’s dominance in Indy but he’s making good ground in the effort.
Anderson established the track record with a 6.662, 206.95 mph to earn his
tenth pole of the 2006 NHRA POWERade schedule and the 50th of his Pro Stock
driving career which began in 1998. It was his third top qualifying position at
ORP (2004-2006). Both his elapsed time and speed reset the O’Reilly Raceway
Park in Indianapolis track records.
Anderson wants to win now.
“I feel confident about my chances at this year’s Mac Tools Nationals,” said Anderson. “We’ve been so close the last two or three weeks and I think if there is any track on the circuit that can get us started on a win streak, it’s Indy. We’ve had a lot of success here, I love the racetrack. I love the race. I love the whole aura about the weekend and I love hoisting that trophy at the end of the weekend. We’re certainly driven harder when we come here to win.
“That doesn’t mean they're just going to hand me the trophy if I don’t do my job. They're not going to just give it to me because I’ve had a lot of success here. I’m going to have to prove I deserve it. I think we’re ready to do that. I’ve got to earn it though.”
Choices, Choices…- Indy always manages to bring about some tough decisions. Jason Line finds it hard to decide whether he’d prefer the points or the win.
“Is this a trick question,” said Line. “I want to win both Indy and the points that go with it, but if I have to choose one or the other, I would choose the win then the point thing would take care of itself. At this stage of the season, points are what count.
“Indy is a special race and the one that most every driver wants to win and I’m one of those drivers. It would be cool to win it from that standpoint. Tomorrow we’re going out and try to put both Summit Racing Pontiacs in the final, then may the best car win.”
With six races to go in the battle for the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock point championship this year, including this weekend’s Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Line holds the top spot in the standings and leads teammate Greg Anderson, who holds the No. 2 spot, by 121 points and third place Dave Connolly by 171 points. Kurt Johnson is fourth, 277 points back and Jim Yates rounds out the top five in fifth, 317 points behind the leader.
Line, who is looking for his first Indy win, faces Warren Johnson in the opening round. Johnson, who is appearing in his 31st race at Indy, has won six of the previous 30. He qualified No. 14 with an elapsed time of 6.710 seconds.
Under Pressure – President George Bush may be under less pressure than Team Mopar crew chief David Nickens these days.
Nickens has encountered various mechanical issues with both Team Mopar entries and on one, the engine explicably shut-off. He has hurt two engines this weekend.
“It’s been pretty tough this weekend,” Nickens said. “We just haven’t had any luck.”
Life was a lot easier for Nickens before he was named to replace icon Bob Glidden earlier this season as the tuner.
“It would have been no stress at all today because I would have been out
riding my motorcycle,” Nickens said. “There’s no pressure doing that. But, I’m
not about to give up. I’m going to stay after this until we get it right.”
The Practice Motor – Bob Glidden made significant dyno power between the last event in Memphis and this weekend. By Sunday, he was using the team’s practice motor.
The Knoll Gas-sponsored team wounded their top two motors in consecutive days. Those were the powerplants that made the significant gains.
He Called It – Dave Connolly predicted the outcome of qualifying Sunday at O'Reilly before Sunday's final attempt on a partly sunny day.
"There probably won't be any change in the standings, and we'll be racing Dave Howard in the first round," he said. And that's the way Connolly's Labor Day competition will begin.
"Our motor has been down on power a little and that has put a damper on things, but we have been making decent runs."
Connolly's qualifying best of 6.702 seconds at 205.13 mph -- run Sunday morning -- put him 11th while Howard came in sixth with a 6.686-second time at 205.76.
"We don't get lane choice but that hasn't bothered us here," added Connolly. "There isn't a real big different between lanes. There is no easy spot in the line-up so we'll take whatever we get. We ran a 6.70 and he ran 6.70 and we ran 6.72 and he ran 6.72 Sunday. It should be a good race. It will probably be decided at the starting line."
Flasher Sighting – Butch Leal, former driver of the California Flash Pro
Stocker, was seen making his rounds through the Pro Stock pits this weekend.
Put Me In, Coach - Larry Nance played many years as a forward with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and in those years he was a first-team player. He raced many years in the limelight of Pro Stock eliminator but in the last half-decade he’s been on the sidelines.
“It’s hard when you’re watching these Pro Stock cars when you want one so badly,” Nance said.
Nance admits he’s replaced the time he once had earmarked for drag racing with a classic Camaro street machine. Most of his day is consumed with sponsorship searches.
“I like to work with kids and help them with basketball,” Nance added.
Nance and another former NBA standout, Tom Hammonds, are often discussed in the same scenarios. This weekend Hammonds announced plans to return in 2007 as a Pro Stock driver.
“It’s really good to see Tom Hammonds out there because he’s a good competitor,” Nance said. “It’s good to see at least one of us NBA players out here racing. He’s making the steps in the right direction.
SATURDAY - PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
Tough Session – Three-time world champion Greg Anderson brought his best game to the table during the third session. He used a 6.681, 206.23 to surpass Mike Edwards for the second day's provisional pole. The run stood as a track record.
That wasn’t a bad shot for the four-time Indy winner.
“We know what we’ve got,” said Anderson. “We came up here and tested a
couple of weeks ago, so we think we’ve got a decent handle on the track. To be
honest with you, I expected the track to be a little different when we came back
for the race, but it’s proving not to be that different. Obviously the test was
a good idea.
“We had a little bit of bad luck with the starter going away in the second round, but at Indy you’ve got five chances at it, and it looks like the weather's going to be great all weekend, so there's no sense to panic. Hopefully we’ve got our bad luck out of the way and now we can set sail and show what these Summit Racing Pontiacs can do.
“We definitely didn’t get it all with either car, so we know there’s a lot left, and I’m sure there is in other cars, too. But it’s always a good feeling to know when you go out and make a good run that there’s still a lot left in the car.”
Edwards established the top spot during the first session of the day with a 6.685, 205.88.
A testament to the competitive nature of the class, Mark Pawuk is on the
bubble with a 6.724, 204.60. Only .043 separates the top from the bottom in the
Fast Break – Three years off was more than enough for former NBA standout Tom Hammonds. He announced his plans today to return to NHRA Pro Stock in 2007 behind the wheel of a Rick Jones-built Chevy Cobalt. Hammonds last competed at an NHRA Pro Stock event in March 2003 in Gainesville, Fla.
"I'm excited about this program because for the first time, I will be able to put a full 100-percent effort into racing NHRA Pro Stock," said Hammonds. "When I raced before, I was still playing in the NBA, and then when I retired from basketball, I was devoted to completing the GM Minority Dealership program. I couldn't give my full attention to racing, and given the limited amount of time we had on the track, I still think we were pretty successful. I'm a big believer in that you get out of something what you put into it. If you devote 100 percent of your time and effort into something, you're going to get good results regardless of what it is. I'm confident that we can be competitive and that we will be successful."
"Team Chevy is proud to support Tom Hammonds upon his return to NHRA Pro Stock racing in 2007," said Fred Simmonds, GM drag racing marketing manager. "Tom was a valued member of our team when he raced his Pro Stock Chevy Cavalier several years ago, and we're looking forward to renewing our relationship with one of the class acts among professional athletes."
A former NBA power forward and two-time all-ACC basketball standout at Georgia Tech, Hammonds entered his first NHRA Pro Stock race in Englishtown (N.J.) in 1997 and qualified for his first 16-car field later that September in Reading (Pa.). Hammonds announced his retirement from the NBA in September 2001, then three weeks later, advanced to his first final round at an NHRA national event in Dallas. His made his second final-round appearance the following week in Las Vegas.
"Sitting on the outside looking in, the class has changed dramatically since I last raced in 2003," said Hammonds. "It was competitive when I raced, but now there are so many good teams with Greg Anderson, Warren Johnson, Allen Johnson, Jim Yates, the Cagnazzi program; they've all taken the sport to a higher level, and we'll have to be ready for that."
Following his sabbatical from the sport in 2003, the 39-year-old Hammonds completed final course work in the GM Minority Dealer Development Program and opened Tom Hammonds Chevrolet in Darlington, S.C., in May 2004. He sold the dealership in December 2005 to focus full time on his Pro Stock drag racing career.
"We're going to have our own in-house engine program, and we're in the
process of building a brand-new race shop in my hometown of Crestview, Fla.,"
said Hammonds. "The good thing about that is that it's only 10 minutes away from
our local drag strip, which will give us the opportunity to test. That will be a
key component for us."
Credit Where Credit Is Due – Larry Morgan is all about giving credit where credit is due and nothing makes for a better platform than the U.S. Nationals and the side of his ultra-competitive Dodge Stratus.
“It’s all about giving back to Gil Kirk and the great things he gave to this sport,” Morgan said. “Without him giving me my first shot, I wouldn’t be here to do this. This is all in respect for Gil. It’s a tribute to all of the guys on this trunk lid.”
Morgan has listed every driver that campaigned a car under the Rod Shop banner on his race car.
“I didn’t know there was that many,” Morgan admitted. “It just goes to show you just how many drivers were affected by him. I am proud to be a part of it. Since I don’t have much of any sponsorship, I thought this would be a great time.
“I feel nostalgic and this has created a memory maker.”
Ironically, Morgan first joined the Rod Shop team driving a Pontiac Fiero in
Lucky Seven – Some racers would feel fortunate to be seventh quickest at Indy – not Kurt Johnson.
Johnson’s best effort of the weekend thus far is a 6.696, 205.57.
“We made two nice runs today, but we’re still a little miffed that we didn’t pick up more on tonight’s run," he said. "There was nothing obvious in our initial review of the data, so we’ll have to dig deeper into our ACDelco Cobalt to see what’s going on. It’s not bad, but we’re not happy unless we’re on top.
“Everyone is saying the right lane is a little slow, and it could be, so lane choice will be important for Monday. We’re not going to concern ourselves with that. For now, we’ll get to work on our car, see what we can find to pick up our performance tomorrow and put ourselves in a better spot for final eliminations.”
FRIDAY - PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
Walking the Line – Low qualifier Jason Line admitted he gained the provisional pole with just an ordinary run, if such a thing could ever be said about being atop one’s respective class at Indy.
Line went to the top with a 6.687, 205.04. The bump is Bob Benza’s 6.727.
“There is a lot of racing left,” Line said. “It is nice to go to the top on the first run. I felt good and decent. This was just a regular run. I don’t think it will hold and there’s always room for improvement. It’s good to get that first run in and feel confident that you’re in the field for eliminations.”
The notables unqualified after the first day included Tommy Lee, Warren
Johnson, Kenny Koretsky, and Erica Enders.
Anybody’s Championship - The NHRA POWERade Pro Stock point
championship has come down to six races and it is anybody's game. Entering the
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Jason Line, in first, leads teammate Greg Anderson,
who holds the No. 2 spot by 121 points, and third place Dave Connolly by 171
points. Kurt Johnson is fourth, 277 points back and Jim Yates rounds out the
top five, 317 points behind the leader.
A Tribute to The Boss – Race fans and drag racers alike offered a moment of silence for fallen legend Ronnie Sox. Sox died in April after a lengthy bout with cancer.
Ronnie’s wife Diane and longtime Sox racing partner Buddy Martin were a part of a significant recognition of the Pro Stock icon’s contribution to the sport. A donation to the St. Jude's Hospital for $50,000 was made in Sox's name. He was an avid supporter of children’s charities.
“This was one of those situations where it was wonderful and hurt deeply at the same time,” Martin said. “It was unbelievable to see the fans stand in rememberance of Ronnie. I just can’t thank the NHRA enough for doing this. I can’t help but think Ronnie is seeing all of this and smiling. This is tough and I miss him.
“He was my friend and my partner,” Martin continued. “there was no one finer with a 4-speed transmission than him.”
Sox & Martin won here in 1969 and 1971. Together the duo raced for 15 years together.
A tribute to the life of Sox was presented in a video over the Motel 6 vision and with a parade of former Sox & Martin cars ranging from his classic Plymouth Barracudas to his Dodge Colt.
The current Sox & Martin tribute car of Panella and Bailey followed the
That’s Slammin’ – Jeg Coughlin Jr. will return possibly for three races this season and all of 2007 behind the wheel of a second Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt. Coughlin, a 47-time national event winner, will be driving for Victor Cagnazzi.
"Our goal is to win championships," said the 36-year-old Coughlin, who won Pro Stock titles in 2000 and 2002. "We strongly feel we are capable of doing just that and I couldn't be more excited. Victor is a great guy, he's running a top-notch organization, and the talent he's assembled is second-to-none. I'm proud to become a member of the Slammer's Ultimate Milk Team.
"I've worked with a couple of his guys (Roy Simmons and Nick Ferri) in the past and I certainly know (chassis builder) Todd Bevis and (engine builders) Joe Hornick and Steve Johns. We've all seen what they've done with their cars and their current success with Evan Knoll's Torco Fuels/Skull Gear car driven by Dave Connolly. It's obvious they can put a competitive car on the racetrack."
Coughlin took this year off from Pro Stock but still managed to win several high-dollar bracket races around the country. He'll begin testing a custom-built Cagnazzi Cobalt next week at Virginia Motorsports Park.
"I got fitted for the car a few months ago and it's ready to run," Coughlin said. "We plan to test prior to running the last three national events this year in Richmond (Va.), Las Vegas, and Pomona.
"We've actually been talking about doing this for some time. I've been racer friends with Victor since the early '90s when he was the first guy I knew of to use his RacePak computer system with a laptop. I wanted to learn how to do that so I went to him then. We've been friends ever since.
"Victor knew I was taking a year off so it gave us time to put a deal together. Slammers and Bravo are having a record year and they attribute a significant portion of that to their racing program. The thought was that two cars will be better than one. I'm excited to enhance what they already have."
Buy A Part, Get the Cow - Coughlin said his family's company
will be offering Slammers Ultimate Milk products through JEGS Mail Order's
1-800-345-4545 phone number and JEGS.com. The system Slammers has to sterilize
and bottle their product allows this milk to be stored and shipped without
refrigeration through the JEGS distribution network. Customers will now be able
to order a twelve-pack and have it in their hands within two
"We're excited about the partnership and I know the associates at JEGS will be happy," Coughlin said. "They like to watch us run on ESPN2 and do well.
"I've met with Roy Warren, Mike Edwards, Ben Patipa, and many others and I really like the family feel in their organization. I think that's a crucial element when you're going to spend as much time together as it takes to run this tour. Both Victor and Roy are solid guys and we've all gotten along so well throughout this process. It's been very exciting.
"The next step is to get up and running and get these two Slammers Ultimate Milk Cobalts in the winner's circle as often as possible."
Back Again – During a Valvoline press conference, company executives announced that Ron Krisher will return with their backing in 2007.
Once a Mad Dog, Always a Mad Dog – When you think of Indianapolis Raceway Park, Bob Glidden’s name immediately comes to mind. Far removed from the days when he drove his Fords and a Mopar to the winner’s circle, Glidden has a new take on things. He wants to win as a crew chief.
Glidden is looking for a bit of that old Indy magic.
“We had a lot of luck at this track,” Glidden said. “We won a lot of races that we shouldn’t have. I am looking forward to this year with Tommy [Martino] driving.”
Glidden admits he’s found a bit more horsepower since Memphis but he not revealing any figures.
“Not enough,” Glidden added.
That’s the Glidden way. If you win once, win again. In fact, Glidden remains the winningest Indy professional winner at 9 triumphs despite having retired almost a decade ago.
“I’m just me,” Glidden said. “I try to be consistent all the time. I want to win whether I’m driving a car or tuning.”
Glidden also stands as the third winningest professional driver in NHRA history, surpassed only by John Force and Warren Johnson. He’s only got one national event as a crew chief and that came in 2005 Pomona 2 with Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
Katrina, a year later– Richie Stevens couldn’t help but watch the news reports about Hurricane Ernesto this past week. Last year he had a hurricane story of his own.
Stevens and his family was one of the victims of Hurricane Katrina that destroyed New Orleans. The Mopar-sponsored driver learned a lot in that time.
“I learned a lot about patience in the past year,” Stevens said. “It's been a big waiting game. A lot of frustrating times. It's definitely made me a more patient person, I can honestly say that. Right now in New Orleans, you have to stand in line for things, supplies are limited, and it's hard to get people to do jobs, especially on the house and the business. You're trying to get back together and you're delayed two, three, four months, at times, because everybody is doing the same thing.
“The only answer is to rebuild and go on and deal with it. It's something that was thrown at us, something that we couldn't do anything to prevent or to help out. You do the best you can to get through it and hope it doesn't happen again.”
Stevens knows a lot of work still remains and racing seems to be a nice diversion to heartache.
“They're still building flood walls here, there is still a lot of work to do in New Orleans. There are areas still without power and traffic lights down. There are still abandoned cars and houses. There are areas that still look like they did five days after the storm last year.
“It's been a long road. Luckily, in my case, I have racing to fall back on. I get to kind of get away at times. It's nice to leave here and to just get away from the surroundings. It's nice to get to a city that doesn't have any problems, as far as destruction. The racing has been good to me.”
THURSDAY - PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK
No Wonder He Likes It - Greg Anderson has a passion for Indy. He's won the event four times, including the last three years consecutively, in five final rounds. Only Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden and Warren Johnson have more U.S. National wins than Anderson. Glidden has nine and WJ has six.
If he wins again, he will become only the third Pro Stock driver to have four consecutive wins at the most sought-after single event title in drag racing today. Glidden accomplished the feat from 1985-1988 and Warren Johnson duplicated Glidden’s effort from 1992-1995. Only time will tell if Anderson is the first driver to reach four in the new Millennium.
"Indy has been golden to me - it's special," said Anderson. "I've had a lot of success there over the years and there's no race that means more to me than the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. You can win a driver's championship, but if you don't win the U.S. Nationals once or twice, then to me, your career is just not complete. Winning this year would be especially sweet, given the dry spell that I've been in."
Anderson he had been to four final rounds this season and has one victory to his credit. He also has has nine No. 1 qualifying positions in 17 races this season.
“This new Pontiac GTO has been running good and we’ve had our share of poles,” reflected Anderson, “but we just haven’t been able to translate that to the winner’s circle on race day. I feel that I’ve driven decent in the last few races, even good enough to win, but we just haven’t been able to close the deal. I would like to turn that around at Indy and start a streak that will lead to my fourth championship. I need a win and I think we're about ready to do that. Indy would be a great place to start.”
Still Irked - Dave Connolly is so perterbed at losing first round in memphis that he plans to drive two cars this weekend in Indy.
The driver of the Skull Gear Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt, currently third in NHRA POWERade Series points, plans to also compete in Super Comp. Connolly, 23, came up through the Sportsman ranks and has two Super Comp national event wins to go with his nine Pro Stock victories, including four (Atlanta, Topeka, Denver and Brainerd, Minn.) this season.
“I feel pretty good going into this race,” said Connolly. “We’ve had a good race car in the last few races and good horsepower under the hood. The guys at Victor Cagnazzi’s engine shop are working on some new parts that are making more horsepower. Maybe we’ll be able to catch up to Jason (Line, current Pro Stock point leader, 1,245 points) and Greg (Anderson, No. 2, 1124).
“I had a car that could go some rounds at Memphis (August 20), but I didn’t get the job done,” Connolly continued. “The pressure is on me to redeem myself at Indy. I think we have a shot at winning the U.S. Nationals. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s our biggest race of the year.
“Driving the Super Comp car will help me on the ‘tree (starting line lights) . . . help me concentrate. This is a long race and you don’t want to lose concentration.”
Connolly is still smarting from a holeshot loss against Warren Johnson in the first round. Such a loss is something he's not accustomed to.
“We decided to take the car back to Victor’s shop (in Mooresville, N.C.) after Memphis so the guys could work on the engine instead of testing at Indy (August 22-23),” said Connolly. “I think it will pay off because we should have more power under the hood. We had a choice to make and I think, in the long run, we made the right decision. We hope we have a good weekend.”
Looking for Indy First - Jim Yates has been series champion twice (1996-97) and was runner-up three times (2001-02, 1995). He's qualified for 351 races and has won 395 of his 673 elimination rounds (58.7 percent). He has 25 victories – including at Columbus, Ohio in May – in his 58 final rounds.
Yates still hasn't won Indy
“Indy is always a good race to win,” says Yates, runner-up in 2002, his only final round visit at ORP. “It’s one of my favorites; I just haven’t won it yet.”
Back in the Saddle Again - Captain Chaos is back - again. After making a return in Brainerd and then sitting out Memphis, Koretsky returns to the scene of one of his best NHRA Pro Stock races this weekend with the hope of duplicating or bettering it by the time the sun goes down on Monday at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
Koretsky, the 2004 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals runner-up will be in his familiar blue Nitro Fish/ISC Racers Tape Dodge with horsepower supplied by Larry Morgan, while Dave Northrop is driving the red Nitro Fish/ISC Racers Tape Dodge that will be powered by an Allen Johnson motor in the 52nd running of the sport ’s oldest, most prestigious race.
“I’m really thankful to be able to race at the U.S. Nationals,” said Koretsky, who drove for the first time this season at Brainerd, Minn., August 13. “It is our biggest race and I really want to be a part of it. Eddie (Guarnaccia, crew chief) and Dave tested my car at St. Louis Tuesday and Wednesday with good results.”
Koretsky was on the sidelines until earlier this month because he wanted to be certain his body had fully recovered from injuries sustained in his accident with Bruce Allen last October at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
“The test session was pretty good overall,” Guarnaccia said. “There were 10 or 12 cars testing. Some were real fast and we were respectable with the blue car. We were able to sort out some issues we’ve had with carburetors. Now we’re looking forward to going to Indy.”
Northrop has been coming to the U.S. Nationals as a competitor “since the mid-1980s,” he said. “I raced my Comp Eliminator car here. It’s always exciting to come to Indy. It is a special race.”